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Bitter Pecan Carya aquatica

Description

Water Hickory is a large native deciduous shade tree in the walnut family.  It is a major component of wetland forests now in the southeastern US, because of the selective cutting by the lumber industry. It is considered important in cleansing water runoff during flooding. It is very tolerant of wet soils but grows best on well-drained moist soils near rivers and other waterways. It can spread aggressively by both seeds and sprouts from the roots.

The spring male and female flowers give way to nuts that are bitter but enjoyed by waterfowl and small mammals. It is slow-growing and generally doesn't produce nuts until after the age of 20 years. It can reach heights of up to 100 feet or more with a narrow irregular crown. Propagate this tree by moist stratification of the seeds.

If you have a pond or stream or other moist to wet areas with plenty of space this tree would work well for you. It has good wildlife value.

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#boggy#wet sites#nuts#pond margins#small mammals#food source#NC native#swamps#river banks#wetland#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#deciduous tree#wet soils
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#wildlife plant#native tree#moths#boggy#wet sites#nuts#pond margins#small mammals#food source#NC native#swamps#river banks#wetland#Braham Arboretum#larval host plant#deciduous tree#wet soils
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Carya
    Species:
    aquatica
    Family:
    Juglandaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Used as firewood.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central to southeastern U.S.A., NC
    Distribution:
    Found in VI south to FL west to TX and OK north to Missouri, IL, ID, and KY
    Wildlife Value:
    Bitter nuts are eaten by ducks and other birds. Larval host plant to Luna moths, funeral dagger moths, and giant regal moths.
    Play Value:
    Edible fruit
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Nuts are bitter
    Dimensions:
    Height: 80 ft. 0 in. - 100 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 40 ft. 0 in. - 50 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Irregular
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Nut
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The nut is in a fuzzy yellow to brown husk. The 1-1.5 inch nut is oval to egg-shaped and flattened.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Catkin
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Male flowers occur in hanging slender yellow-green catkins 2-3 inches long. Female flowers are in short spikes or stalks and are very small and yellow-green.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The dark green glossy compound leaves have 7-15 curved lance-shaped serrated leaflets with fine hairs along the midrib and major veins on the undersides.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Scaly
    Shaggy
    Smooth
    Bark Plate Shape:
    Rectangle
    Bark Description:
    Smooth light grey to brown bark that splits into narrow loose shaggy red-tinged scales with age.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Bud Terminal:
    Only 1 terminal bud, larger than side buds
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Reddish-brown twigs with yellowish terminal buds.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Pond
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Moths
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil